Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
My life thus far has been a roller coaster of change. It never stops. And I remember when I was younger, wanting life to stop being so…difficult. Why couldn’t I just have a moment of peace? As I got older, my perspective widened and I realized that this constant desire for change and peace and harmony within our lives was something universal. We all looked around and wondered how so and so had it all together or why pieces of the puzzle fell together perfectly for everyone but us. We all cried out, screaming curses at the cosmos for giving us such a fate as the one we had to endure. But the cosmos didn’t want anything and our cries just bounced around in the vastness of our own minds. Echoing our pleas back at us.
And all this made me wonder. Why? Why do some people with difficulties still manage to face the day with hope? Rise with a smile on their face despite the storms they have weathered? And I realized that we all break differently. When something terrible happens or when life is a succession of terribleness, one after the other, we don’t shatter the same. We point fingers and direct glaring glances at those around us and cry that they don’t understand. The couldn’t possibly understand what we’ve been through, or going through. But the ones who realize that even if life breaks them, they don’t have to stay broken…those are the ones who have peace. See, the thing I failed to realize is that it doesn’t matter what we’ve been through, but rather who we are. Every one has bad days. And a lot of people have a constant pattern of bad days. So what?! Life sucks sometimes. It’s not supposed to reach some point of ultimate perfection. That’s not how it all works. And it never will.
But the difference? The only thing that makes us all so different from those who have hope? They’re content. They may not always love their life on some days. But they love being alive. And that, right there, is what we’ve been naively grasping for since we first began to tread across this earth. Contentment. A sense of inner peace despite all that rages around us. And no, it doesn’t mean we’re going to be in some constant state of happiness. That’s not how all this works. But rather a constant state of acceptance.
The moment I accepted my life, no it didn’t magically change. Well, in a way it did. Or at least I changed. And my past didn’t seem so…bumpy anymore. I saw my life for the lovely and precious thing it is. Each of us have such a small bit of time allotted to us here on earth. But the irony of life is that we never stop to see what’s right in front of us. We have time, yet we waste so very much of it. We look around at those around us,and up into the vast expanse of the universe and scream that life isn’t fair. There are so many stupid self help books out there that claim they and only they have the power, the ability to change our life. But you know what? It’s never our life or others that need to change. It’s us! Within each of us, is a wellspring of endless possibilities yet we always fail to see it. Fairness is just a concept born in the mind of men too immature to realize that they are an agent of change.
And so I, too, have learned the secret to contentment. It’s a balance of riding with change and also be willing to create change for ourselves. And acceptance that life may not always seem beautiful at the time, but being alive? That is something too wondrous for words to describe.